Spiders are not the most pleasant living creatures on the planet, some can be poisonous, but they should not cause panic horror. If the thought of a spider makes you shiver, it’s a phobia.
What is arachnophobia?
Arachnophobia is anxiety that occurs when you see any spiders. In many ways, it is based on the general human perception of spiders as predators (killing their prey), often poisonous creatures. Many people dislike spiders as their appearance is rather unpleasant. But from the usual disgust, a normal feeling of fear, a phobia is distinguished by the presence of somatic, vegetative reactions, the strongest irrational fear that arises about one thought about a spider, thoughts looping on their fear.
Causes of arachnophobia in adults
People with arachnophobia do not realize that their fear is irrational. They are not aware of the origin of their fear, they are afraid of spiders, even if they do not see them. Fear can arise in childhood but is realized only as a result of some provocateur already in adulthood.
Sometimes children, observing parents with arachnophobia, can subconsciously shift it onto themselves. They remember information about the special danger of spiders, this is deposited in the subconscious, and in adulthood, this fear can control them. Then one memory of a small harmless spider can threaten with somatic reactions – cold sweat, tachycardia, intermittent breathing. Similar fears can form in areas where spiders are abundant and dangerous.
In cultures where spiders or insects are deified or eaten, arachnophobia is not common.
Physiologists explain arachnophobia by a strong difference between a spider and a person in structure. Other reasons are the unpredictability of the actions of spiders, the risk of bites, the ability to suddenly stumble upon a cobweb. If a person notices a spider close to them, this can exacerbate the phobia.
Movies and stories about spiders, which are extremely life-threatening, spur the development of arachnophobia in impressionable people.
Symptoms of arachnophobia in adults
Few people love spiders; in many, they cause a natural disgust and dislike. But this is not a phobia. True manifestations of arachnophobia occur over several years and are aggravated from time to time. The main difference between a phobia is the onset of a panic attack at any time, even if there are no spiders nearby – they were shown on TV or mentioned in a conversation. Sometimes reactions can even become dangerous to health since a person cannot control, manage his mental reaction. Vegetative reactions can even threaten vascular catastrophes, up to a stroke or heart attack. The main manifestations of arachnophobia:
- strong fear that cannot be controlled, it is impossible to suppress it;
- reactions are sharply inhibited or, on the contrary, sharply revitalized, up to panic;
- the skin is pale, covered with cold, clammy sweat;
- the pulse is sharply speeded up, the pressure is increased;
- limbs tremble, may have a marbled color or cyanosis of the fingers;
- what is happening seems unreal;
- there is an irresistible desire to destroy the spider, even if it is only imaginary.
It is the last point – the maniacal desire to find, destroy the nest of spiders, get rid of them at any cost – an alarming sign that forms as an obsession. In women, this is sometimes accompanied by a desire to restore perfect order, destroying all traces of the cobweb.
How to get rid of arachnophobia in adults?
The most correct way to get rid of arachnophobia is to see a specialist. Psychotherapists will work with the patient for a long time, gradually working out the main reasons for the fear of spiders. The doctor helps to find the root of the problem, to determine why such fear has developed specifically in relation to spiders, and to work out these psychological problems.
The diagnosis is confirmed by a psychiatrist after a detailed assessment of the medical history and a series of tests. Often, arachnophobia manifests itself as an unmotivated horror that accompanies autonomic reactions. To assess the general condition, examinations can be additionally carried out by a therapist or narrow specialists.
Modern methods of treatment
The most effective treatment is behavioral therapy, which creates conditions in which a person is immersed in situations where they encounter a spider. Gradually, the patient develops resistance to fear. If the phobia is overcome, remission occurs.
The doctor may suggest some radical methods – overcompensation (to have a spider at home), computer programs that simulate real-life situations. Graphic methods help – reflecting your fear on paper.
Additionally, the doctor may prescribe antidepressants, tranquilizers, as well as physiotherapy, lifestyle correction.
Prevention of arachnophobia in adults at home
Prevention of the fear of spiders, like most other phobias, should begin in childhood. It includes various activities to improve physical and mental health, especially – the functioning of the nervous system.
No less important is the rational upbringing of children – without severe emotional stress, without the formation of constant anxiety, avoiding overprotection. Parents should be engaged in the formation of correct and age-appropriate social skills, independent decision-making.
Are complications of this phobia possible, does it affect the ability to work, does it threaten disability, death?
Fear of spiders will not lead to death and disability. But such a phobia can have social consequences – it is difficult for a person to work or live in houses, premises where insects can live. Even the smallest and most harmless spiders provoke attacks of extreme fear and extremely unpleasant sensations. This threatens with social isolation, constant problems at work, in the family.
Is it possible to cure yourself or with the help of non-traditional methods (dietary supplements, herbs, acupuncture, hypnosis)?
Attempts to self-medicate, especially by unconventional methods, various dietary supplements or herbs, dubious techniques can only worsen the situation. Without treatment by a doctor, the phobia can worsen, provoking more and more serious problems.